The national average cost for social media marketing services is $50 to $100 per hour. The national average cost of a monthly social media marketing package can range from $399 to over $5,000 a month, depending on the type and amount of help you need, your industry, and whether you opt for an agency or individual consultant.
Social media marketing (SMM) means using social media platforms and social networks to market your company's service and products so potential clients can find you.
Many social media marketing consultants and agencies will offer a package that fits in your budget. Before you hire a social media company, freelancer, or consultant, learn more about social media marketing costs so you can find the best professional for your budget and brand.
What's in this cost guide?
- What is social media consulting?
- Social media marketing price factors
- What's included in the cost of social media marketing services
- Benefits of hiring a social media marketing professional
- Cost-saving tips
- What to look for in a social media marketing professional
When you hire a social media consultant or agency, they will work with you to develop strategies and run marketing campaigns -- both paid and organic -- on social platforms that meet your business goals. They can also help you maintain the day to day needs of your social channels.
Social media strategists help you reach audiences on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Yelp. They can also assist with advertising and marketing blogs. The number of services you decide to have them help you with and the length of the campaign will impact the price you pay per hour or per social media package.
As with many services, where the professional is located, the size of their business, the services you wish to address in your marketing campaign, and the social media professional's experience factor into the cost of social media marketing. Here's what to consider as you search for a professional:
If you're based in an urban center and require the freelancer or agency to meet in person, that can result in higher prices for local social media services. It can be more cost-effective to work with a remote agency or social media consultant.
You will likely pay more if you hire a large advertising agency to help with social media management and advertising campaigns. A smaller agency or individual consultant is generally less expensive.
While going smaller can result in lower costs and potentially more individualized attention (if the freelancer doesn't have too many clients), a large agency has additional benefits. Some specialize in multi-channel advertising campaigns, and can provide additional services beyond social—like SEO or copywriting.
If you're a small business and only need assistance with simple social media maintenance (i.e. posting regularly on Instagram, maintaining a basic brand presence on social, responding to comments and messages), an individual freelancer or social media consultant will be a better fit than a large agency.
For example, Morissa Schwartz, who runs Dr. Rissy's Writing business in Matawan, NJ, quotes clients about $52 to $89 per hour for social media services. In Los Angeles, CA, Jacqueline Basulto runs a digital marketing company, SeedX, with 15 employees. Her business's rate is usually $75 to $150 per hour.
A social media marketing professional can help with a variety of social media services on different platforms. These all factor into their hourly rate or package offerings. Some examples of services offered by professional social media managers include:
- Launch and run a new social channel. For example, if you want to expand your brand's reach to a new social media channel, like Snapchat or Instagram, they can develop and execute a strategy for successfully launching your brand's new account.
- Create content for social media. For example, you could request that they create videos for YouTube or edit and post photos on Instagram from your community. Keep in mind that video creation tends to be more expensive than written content or photographs.
- Run ad campaigns on one or more channels. This will include setting a strategy, managing monthly budgets, and running ad campaigns on one or more social media channels.
- Manage social media platforms. You might request that a social media manager runs all of your social media platforms. This means posting fresh content, and acting as customer service to respond to questions and requests that come in via social media.
It's usually a wise business decision to outsource social media management and marketing if you have the budget. Maintaining a good, consistent social presence is time-consuming, and your employees may not have the bandwidth to run a large in-house campaign. A social media consultant or agency can help you get the results you want without compromising your employees' time.
Social media marketing services generally include management, strategy, and paid ad campaigns.
When you hire a marketing agency to manage your social media accounts, it's very individualized depending on what you want them to do. Services that can be included in the price of these services may include:
- Micro-influencer and influencer marketing
- Social media management for all of your platforms
- Social media campaign strategies
Social media isn't the only form of digital marketing. A digital marketing agency—and many consultants—may also be able to offer the following advertising services:
- E-mail marketing
- Search engine marketing (SEM) for paid campaigns in Google, Bing, and other search engines
- Amazon optimization, which is relevant for e-commerce brands
- Search engine optimization (SEO) to increase your organic (unpaid) presence in search
- Content creation
Think about your business's goals and what you want most from a social media consultant's before hiring them. This can help you stick to your initial budget and not be swayed to pay for assistance that you don't really need.
If you've ever found yourself spending more time than you planned to on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you know social media is “always on". Running these platforms for your business takes up a lot of time. Some reasons you should hire an agency or social media consultant / freelancer are:
- Time equals money. Keeping your social media up-to-date requires a consistent, committed presence. For some businesses, that can be 24/7/365. Having someone else to assist with social media management these takes a lot of work off your plate.
- They know the nuances of each platform. There are many different social media platforms, each with their own best practices. An experienced social media manager will know the type of content that works, best image sizes, hashtags, and advertising rules for each platform.
- They can measure ROI and impact. Successful marketing for social media requires more than just posting cheeky Instagram photos. Using social media successfully to gain new customers and expand brand awareness requires skills, strategy, and constant monitoring of analytics. This is something your consultant will concentrate on and learn from so you can get the best ROI on each social post.
- They can improve ad spend efficiency. If you're running paid social campaigns, a digital marketing agency or freelancer can help you improve how efficiently you're spending your advertising dollars, make sure you're reaching the right audience, and cut any ads that aren't getting any results.
Agency and freelancer rates vary, but any business can find someone whose rates meet their budget and needs. To save money on social media marketing costs:
Many freelancers and agencies offer packages for set services and hours per month. For example, SeedX charges $2,000 for a social media package where they create content for multiple platforms.
Consider experience level
You can save a lot of money on the hourly rate by hiring a less experienced professional. The national average for freelancer rates for a social media manager based on experience:
- 0-3 years' experience: $15 - $50 per hour
- 3-5 years' experience: $50 - $100 per hour
- 5+ years' experience: $120 per hour and up
Keep in mind that if you want to run complex social media campaigns with a large budget, you may want to consider a more experienced individual.
Focus on building one or two platforms first
Twitter and Facebook tend to be the top social media marketing platforms for businesses. If you're looking to save money, social media professionals recommend you start there.
Adding on channels like Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Instagram may cost an additional $1,000 per channel for a package, according to The Content Factory.
Limit the content being created
Asking your consultant to create original videos for YouTube will cost more than scheduling weekly posts for Twitter. Especially if you're just starting out with social, start with simple content strategies and expand once you're happy with the consultant's results.
As you're interviewing marketing agencies or social media professionals, ask them about these factors to ensure you're hiring a high-quality professional:
- How they measure the success of their social media marketing campaigns. Some analytics could include:
- Website reports (using Google Analytics) to track website traffic, click-through-rates from social, and what those people did once they arrived on your website.
- Return-on-investment (ROI) by connecting social media campaigns and posts to completed sales.
- Reach, or how many customers or potential customers viewed your content. This is a good proxy for brand awareness.
- Audience growth, or how many more followers, fans, and page likes you received at the end of a campaign.
- The services they offer as part of their rate or social media marketing campaign.
- Who were your previous clients? This will give you a sense of what types of clients they have worked with before, and whether they're a good match for you and your business. You can also ask for a portfolio or examples of their previous work — which is especially important if you want your consultant to help with content creation for your social channels.
What are you waiting for? Find the best social media marketing consultant in your budget today and watch the fans, followers and shares start rolling in!